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UTSA alumna to teach in South America on Fulbright scholarship

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Clarissa Moore, who just completed a graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at UTSA, is taking her knowledge abroad. She has been awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student program award to spend 10 months in Colombia teaching English as a Second Language during the 2018-2019 academic year.

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board presented scholarship awards to more than 1,900 U.S. citizens this year. Recipients will conduct research, teach English and contribute to communities abroad.

"This is momentous for Clarissa and for UTSA," said Brandon Lanners, UTSA education abroad director. "She is proof that we have what it takes to compete for competitive international awards: great students and great faculty and staff to support them."

Moore earned her bachelor's degree in radio, television and film from UT Austin and her master's degree from The Ohio State University before broadening her skillset at UTSA and earning a graduate certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language. Moore teaches ESL for the adult education department at Northside Independent School District and is a mother of two children, ages 5 and 2.

When she works abroad, she will live in Manizales, Colombia.

"Being a teaching assistant in Colombia will provide me with professional growth opportunities," Moore said. "I will gain a more global conceptualization of how English-language skills open doors of opportunity for people."

Prior to teaching English, Moore was a community educator at a domestic violence and sexual assault prevention center. Through that experience, she realized how English-language learning is often critical to some domestic violence victims. As an adult second language learner herself, Moore has worked to pair her passions to contribute to her community. She learned Spanish while studying in Guatemala.

For her community engagement project, Moore will use skills and training she's gained through La Leche League, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating parents about breastfeeding through support groups. She is a trained volunteer breastfeeding educator and will organize support groups in the Colombian community where she will reside. 

"Being a Fulbrighter means being a representative of UTSA and the United States in a true cultural exchange," Moore said. "It's about learning as much from the community where I'm placed as the locals learn from me. I'm excited to immerse myself in the Colombian community."

View the original story on UTSA Today:

Photo courtesy of Deborah Silliman Photography


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